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HMD Global talks about after-sales service and why Nokia maybe again most-trusted brand for Indian customers

From ramping up after-sales service quality to again becoming India's most trusted phone brand, here's what Sanmeet Singh Kochhar, Vice President, HMD Global, told India Today Tech.

twitter-logoKetan Pratap | April 6, 2021 | Updated 12:43 IST

Highlights

  • HMD Global now has over 900 physical touchpoints across India that offer repair support for Nokia phones.
  • It includes over 300 Nokia Mobile Care centres across India and 600 collection points via its RDS partners.
  • Nokia phones in India come preloaded with the My Phone App, which is a single-window for Support Chat, User guide, FAQs, Care Locator, Warranty, Insurance, and more.

Nokia is a brand that needs no introduction and has been around in India for more than a decade. There was a time when Nokia used to set an example for phone brands on how to offer a complete after-sales experience. However, the smartphone brand has gone through many changes over these years, and we won't be entirely wrong in saying that it has lost its Midas touch when it comes to after-sales service in the country. In October last year, Counterpoint Research named Nokia the leading phone manufacturer for software, security updates and build quality.

The market research firm's study included phones from OnePlus, Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, Realme, and more. This gives a lot of assurance that HMD Global, the new home for Nokia phones, is bullish about the Indian market, but how exactly is the after-sales service. We tried to get the answer from Sanmeet Singh Kochhar, Vice President, HMD Global, on how the brand has ramped up its after-sales services in India and what are the innovations for its existing consumers.

Nokia had a legacy when it came to after-sales service in India and was one of the most trusted brands back then. However, there has been a change in after-sales strategy now, and it's not that versatile it was a decade back.

"HMD Global's focus has always been to bring a great experience to the Nokia phones customers through the lifetime of the ownership of their phone. Beyond a great build quality, two years of software upgrades and three years of security, we provide a great after sales experience as well. Customers can rest assured that Nokia phones stand the test of time which is now getting increasingly important for them given phone replacement cycle is getting longer, now approaching 30 months," said Kochhar.

"We have a strong Nokia Mobile Care network and support for our customers and a transparent process of measuring customer satisfaction score. In fact, Covid-19 provided us the opportunity to outdo ourselves for our customers while ensuring safety measures for our extended teams. Since the pandemic, we have ensured top experience to our customers, and our Customer Satisfaction Score in India has soared to 90%," he added.

Kochchar stressed that small things have helped HMD Global make a big difference in their customers' lives. He explained that the after-sales service experience doesn't just stop at a point where customers drop their device at a centre.

"We keep consumers informed at each step of repair journey, which has helped deliver a great consumer experience. We ask for voluntary customer feedback through the My Phone App and through the Customer Feedback form at Nokia Mobile Care. This voluntary satisfaction data help us enhance our products and services. During the consumer journey at Nokia Mobile Care, at any given point of time, if the customers need support, they can reach out to us by just sending an SMS with 'UNHAPPY' shortcode, and our teams swing into action to support the consumers thereon," Kochchar added.

Interestingly, HMD Global mandates that after-sale service centres to ensure that no phone is delivered to a customer without a complete quality check.

Let's say if I'm a Nokia user and I'm having trouble with my smartphone. What are the things I need to do? "For the ease of our customers, we have 900+ physical touchpoints across India that offer repair support for Nokia phones. These include 300+ Nokia Mobile Care centres across India and 600 collection points via our RDS partners. We also offer customer support through phone, e-mail, chat-in-app (MyPhone app) and on Nokia.com/phones," Kochchar explained.

The company now also offers a home pick-up and drop facility. Kochchar added, "We also have the facility of home pick-up and drop where the phone is sent to a centralized repair centre and delivered back to customers at their doorstep. Currently, across India, we have online repair services in 24 states with 11,500+ pin codes across the country. Services are offered for both In-warranty and out-of-warranty consumers, with minimum charges applicable for out of warranty phones."

Nokia phones come with an app pre-installed that's dedicated to Nokia Care. How can a Nokia user benefit from that app? Kochchar starts by explaining what is the My Phone App that comes preloaded on all Nokia smartphones in India.

The app gives users a portal to get information about the device such as battery health, signal strength, and more, he adds. It is a single-window for Support Chat, User guide, FAQs, Care Locator, Warranty and Insurance, Community Forum and Device Monitor.

The app also helps Nokia get direct feedback from the consumers' post repair services. The app's key features include IMEI wise unique notification survey to capture consumer feedback and online-live chat support process available, he explains.

Talking about some after-sale innovations and an array of VAS services for Indian consumers, he further said, "We launched an industry-first a 1-year Replacement Guarantee, which we have launched on the popular Nokia 2.3 and Nokia C3 smartphones. As per this program, if a consumer finds a hardware failure or a manufacturing defect at any time during the 1-year warranty period of their ownership, they need to simply carry their device to the nearest Nokia Mobile Care centre along with the original invoice to receive a replacement. This ensures our customers can sit back and enjoy peace of mind with their Nokia phones."

Interestingly, HMD Global has also been focusing on phones that are now out-of-warranty. Kochchar adds, "Customers in India end up spending on servicing of out-of-warranty smartphones every time there is an issue. We realize that customers are increasingly look for peace of mind, and for these customers, we have brought a host of insurance and extended warranty plans in partnership with Servify."

The company offers some insurance plans with 12 and 6-months cover available via offline and online channels, including the Nokia phones accident and the liquid damage protection plan and the Nokia phone screen protection plan.

The pandemic was tough for all of us, but it was a bad phase for people who faced issues on their phones. How did HMD Global prepare and managed the post lockdown surge in Nokia Mobile Care centres.

"The pandemic provided us the opportunity to outdo ourselves for our customers while ensuring safety measures for our extended teams. We rolled out 60-days extended warranty to our customers whose warranty was expiring during the lockdown. We carefully planned and managed the post lockdown surge in our Nokia Mobile Care centres by putting in the right resources and also putting a ticketing/appointment system for walk-ins. We continue to maintain the highest safety and hygiene standards at Nokia Mobile Care centres. Strict guidelines are being followed to ensure safety and complete hygiene is maintained during the entire repair journey," Sanmeet Singh Kochhar said.

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